Every August my family piled into the car to make the 7 hour drive to upstate NY to visit my Grandparents . I loved that week, heading to the old farm where the air I always thought smelled fresher than my Connecticut hometown. So crisp and clean. I loved wandering through the endless fields, bonfires next to the old barn, sitting on the front porch at night looking up at the sky that appeared to go on forever, and eating my Grandfather's corn hand picked from the fields.
One thing in particular though that I always remember is my Grandma's pies, her Lemon Meringue Pie to be exact. Yes there were lots of other baked goods. A chocolate cake that forever goes down in history, blueberry pies each Thanksgiving, and chocolate chip cookies that my Grandmother seemed to have strategically waiting for me when I arrived, as if she knew just what would hit the spot. But for some reason, her Lemon Meringue always stood out to me.
Sneaking out onto the porch I would peer into the little refrigerator, where all the pies seemed to magically end up, hidden from my touch. And there it would be, the Lemon Meringue Pie that forever stole my heart. Waiting every night after dinner I would hope that tonight would be the night when I could dig my fork into the bright yellow pie savoring every lemony flavor. And eventually it would happen, as I finished off every last crumb, sadly knowing it would be another year before my Grandmother's Lemon Meringue Pie crossed my taste buds.
Over the past month as the summer weather has been creeping into Chicago, I've found myself craving the pie that my Grandmother made for us each summer. The other day I decided to channel my inner Grandma and made my very own Lemon Meringue Pie. While it'll never be the same, if I sit with the windows open and close my eyes, feeling the breeze run through the kitchen I like to imagine that I'm 10 again, sitting in my Grandmother's kitchen with a fresh piece a pie in front of me.
Here's my own version of the recipe if you find yourself needing a lemony treat!
For the Lemon Curd:
3 Eggs 3 Egg Yolk (save the egg whites for the meringue
1 3/4 c. Sugar
12 T. Butter
3/4 C. Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed tastes better, the equivalent of 4 lemons)
2 T. Lemon Zest
1. In a saucepan, combine 3 eggs with 3 egg yolk, saving the egg whites for later. Add the sugar, butter, and lemon juice into the pan cooking over medium-low.
2. Cook the lemon curd, trying to not let it boil so that the eggs do not curdle, until it thickens. You know it's done when the curd can coat the back of a spoon. This should take about 15 minutes, make sure you stir consistently.
3. Let the lemon curd cool in the fridge for about an hour before baking.
For the Crust:
1 3/4 C. Crushed Graham Crackers
1/3 C. Melted Butter
1/4 C. Sugar
1. Crush the graham crackers (can be done by putting them in a ziploc bag and smooshing it with your hands).
2. In a bowl add the melted butter and sugar to the crushed graham crackers and mix.
3. In a pie pan push the graham cracker mix into the pan to form a crust, going about an inch up the sides.
4. Cook the crust for 8 min. at 375 F. Let the crust cool.
For the Meringue:
3 Egg Whites
1/2 C. Sugar
1. In a glass bowl mix the egg whites with a hand mixer gradually adding the sugar in a little bit at a time as you mix the egg whites.
2. Mix the egg whites until soft peaks form.
And to put it all together...
1. Once the crust has cooled pour the lemon curd into the crust.
2. Put the meringue on top of the lemon curd, using the back of a spoon or fork to form soft peaks.
3. Bake in the over at 400 F for about 10 min, or until the meringue is slightly brown.